How to teach an Online English Lesson to Beginners – a Video Explainer

How to teach an Online English Lesson to Beginners – a Video Explainer

Online English teaching is THE thing at the moment, especially as the world comes to terms with teaching at a time of pandemic.

However, I know from my many years as an online English teacher that one of the trickiest groups of students to teach are beginners/near beginners. Add in the online element, and it gets tougher still.

So, my aim with this short blog is to give you some top tips and a short video explainer so you can see what a successful, functional, beginner English lesson online might look like.  

If I had to summarise the secrets of success here, I’d say:
* Keep it moving, smile and encourage lots (thumbs up, smile, nod)
* Be graphic: use pictures, real stuff, or a some words on screen to help them ‘hang on’ to something that isn’t just you
* Keep it simple. Be direct in instruction: John, repeat, for example. (Lose the polite metalanguage: John, if you would, could you please repeat…..)
* Model lots and give them the space to practise through easy to explain activities
* Keep the learning aims functional (practically useful) and simple. It might be a few phrases for buying things in a shop or be some useful structures for everyday usage: Can/can’t + lots of verbs, for example. In the video explainer below, the aim is for the students to be able to tell you a bit about themselves.
* Give them some consolidation work to do for homework so they are practising outside class (beginners need a lot of input) and repeat next time for the first 5 minutes or so as revision

The video explainer

Below you can see a 5 min video and download the worksheet I use. Essentially in this lesson I teach students how to say:

A few things using the verb to be:
I’m name
I’m nationality
I’m married/single

Also, a few things using:
I’ve got….

And a few things saying:
I like/don’t like + noun

I go through each stage bit, by bit, modelling the sample sentences and giving space for them to practise.  Notice how I teach chunks of language at a time, keep it moving and supply extra language as needed. It’s functional, gets them talking early and is easy to explain.

I might get them to write it up after for consolidation, ready to tell me again next time.

Hope this is helpful. Enjoy teaching this challenging but rewarding group.


  • Author: Louisa Bradridge
  • Date: 22/07/2020
  • Download File: about_me.docx

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How to teach an Online English Lesson to Beginners – a Video Explainer